A processor of meat products was looking for a way to better control its outgoing product. Current methods involve simple visual inspections and are very subjective.
As with most processed food products, the incoming raw ingredients are constantly changing. Meat products are especially troublesome as the texture varies in individual animals. Because of this, the process is under constant manipulation in order to produce a consistent product.
Also, the inherent variation in the product requires a method that is going to give a good representation of the whole product, not just a few points. Products such as sausage balls have an additional challenge because of their inconsistent size and shape.
Before testing, samples were allowed to equilibrate to room temperature (about 72 F°).Three samples were then placed in a standard shear cell for testing, roughly 55 grams. Some products were heated to show the difference in texture after cooking.
The shear cell consists of 10 blades that first compress and then shear through the product. This design allowed for testing multiple samples at once, giving a more complete picture of the product. All testing was done using a TMS-Pro at a speed of 250 mm/min to a distance that allowed the blades to shear completely through the product.